[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Economist Intelligence Unit has revealed this year’s most (and least) expensive cities based on its recent Worldwide Cost of Living survey, which compares the prices of over 150 products and services (from food, toiletries and clothing, to domestic help, transport and utility bills) in 133 locations around the world.

Coming in at 16 per cent more pricey than New York, for the fifth year running, Singapore has proved to be the most expensive city on Earth, meaning it’s not just costly for people living there but visitors too. Hong Kong, meanwhile, which is in fourth place, is 11 per cent more expensive than the Big Apple, which doesn’t even feature in the top ten.

Apart from Seoul and Sydney, the majority of the world’s priciest urban centres are in Europe, with Paris and Zurich in second and third place, respectively. Other non-euro cities in Western Europe that join Zurich are Oslo (fifth place), Geneva (sixth) and Copenhagen (eighth place).

The French capital has featured among the top-ten most expensive cities since 2003, while Israel’s Tel Aviv is the only Middle Eastern city to rank in the top ten for cost of living.

Of all 133 cities analysed, Mexico City saw the most rapid rise in the relative cost of living – it has climbed further in the index than any other city “owing to currency movements as well as rising inflation stoked by a jump in petrol prices in early 2017”, says the Economist Intelligence Unit. Moving up 23 places to 59th position, it is now the most expensive city in Latin America.

Chile’s capital, Santiago, has also moved up 20 places to 66th position. In Latin America, the cheapest city is Caracas in Venezuela, which has fallen by 13 places to become the world’s second-cheapest city, followed only by war-torn Damascus in Syria.

What about London? It may feel like an expensive capital to many, but this year it is ranked in 30th place due to “continued economic uncertainty from the Brexit referendum, which has weighed on the strength of the British pound,” says the Economist Intelligence Unit. This is the lowest it has been in two decades.

Survey editor Roxana Slavcheva says: “Western European cities dominate the top of the ranking once more. This is something we have not seen in over a decade. The competition between Asian hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul on the one hand and European destinations such as Paris, Zurich and Oslo on the other will be one to watch over the next survey cycle as well. More interesting is the fall in the ranking for the Japanese cities, Tokyo and Osaka, which were in the top five most expensive just last year.”

The ten most expensive cities in the world 2018
Country City Index (New York=100) Rank Rank movement
Singapore Singapore 116 1 0
France Paris 112 2 5
Switzerland Zurich 112 2 1
Hong Kong Hong Kong 111 4 -2
Norway Oslo 107 5 6
Switzerland Geneva 106 6 1
South Korea Seoul 106 6 0
Denmark Copenhagen 105 8 1
Israel Tel Aviv 103 9 2
Australia Sydney 102 10 4

 

The ten cheapest cities in the world 2018
Country City Index (New York=100) Rank Rank movement
Syria Damascus 26 133 -14
Venezuela Caracas 33 132 -13
Kazakhstan Almaty 38 131 2
Nigeria Lagos 40 130 2
India Bangalore 44 129 2
Pakistan Karachi 46 127 3
Algeria Algiers 46 127 0
India Chennai 47 126 1
Romania Bucharest 48 124 0
India New Delhi 48 124 0

 

Biggest movers down the ranking in the past 12 months
Country City Index (New York=100) Rank Index move Rank move
Uzbekistan Tashkent 54 112 -14 -35
Egypt Cairo 49 121 -10 -22
US Chicago 83 41 -3 -14
New Caledonia Nouméa 77 53 -4 -14
Syria Damascus 26 133 -24 -14
Venezuela Caracas 33 132 -17 -13
Costa Rica San José 65 90 -2 -12
US Washington DC 84 37 -2 -10
Bangladesh Dhaka 71 72 -1 -10
Turkey Istanbul 71 72 -1 -10
Biggest movers up the ranking in the past 12 months
Country City Index (New York=100) Rank Index move Rank move
Mexico Mexico City 74 59 8 23
Chile Santiago 72 66 7 20
Russia St Petersburg 60 98 6 14
Ukraine Kiev 55 110 8 14
Czech Rep Prague 67 82 5 13
Serbia Belgrade 60 98 5 13
South Africa Pretoria 55 110 7 13
Russia Moscow 66 86 6 12
South Africa Johannesburg 58 105 7 11
Spain Madrid 85 34 5 10

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